As with any instrument, it is hard to know where to start finding the best violin. The truth is, there is no single best violin, just the best violin for you. There certainly is no shortage of choice, so it’s important to get all the facts before committing to a violin.
Whether you’re a beginner or a virtuoso and whether you have just pocket change or bank loads to spend, this article will guide you through the best options for you and your journey.
First, let’s get an idea of what’s out there.
Top 5 Violins
Best Beginner Violin – Mendini Full Size Violin
Here Mendini offers a great budget option. It should be noted that while you do get a lot for your money with this instrument, this is by no means a high-end violin.
Experienced violinists will inevitably struggle to get on with this instrument if they are used to handcrafted violins with superior builds.
Additionally, violin enthusiasts may notice a less rich sound than they have come to expect with a lack of hardwood in the body. However, with a quality wooden table, durable hardwood fingerboard, and a robust tailpiece with four fine tuners, the instrument provides everything student violinists need to get the grips with the basics of the violin.
This simple but effective little instrument may be the perfect starter violin you’re looking for. This is the best violin for beginners, and an overall good beginner violin.
Best Student Violin – Stentor Student Violin
A slightly pricier option but a reliable brand Stentor is renowned for making brilliant beginner instruments, with 1500 demonstrating the excellent quality and build people have come to expect from the brand. The instrument has been handcrafted by the Stentor engineers, offering a result far beyond what beginner violinists may usually come to expect.
This violin utilizes a spruce table with an ebony fingerboard as well as a hardwood chin rest and an alloy tailpiece with four tuners, offering exceptional sound quality.
The instrument stays tuned longer than others in its price range, perfect for student violinists still finding their feet when it comes to maintenance; however, with a slightly more complex setup than first-time violinists may be used to, this would likely be the best choice for a player’s second violin. This is the best starter violin, and an overall good starter violin for anyone looking to start playing violin.
Best Sounding Violin – Aileen Violin
Certainly pleasing on the eyes, the Aileen Violin is the sexy option on this list. Showcasing a solid spruce top and maple back and sides with a stunning satin finish, this is an instrument that any player would be proud to take up on stage.
Aesthetics aside, this violin also offers excellent value for money, demonstrating performance well beyond its relatively low price point. However, this exceptional value is only possible because they will not set up your violin before they ship it to you.
For this reason, this instrument is not recommended for beginners, but if you can set up your violin yourself, then this might be a great opportunity to grab yourself a bargain! This is the best cheap violin, and one of the quality violins on the market today!
Best Intermediate Violin – Vangoa Acoustic Violin
If sound quality’s what you’re looking for, then Vangoa offers an excellent choice in the Vangoa Acoustic Violin.
Made from spruce and maple, the instrument is both lightweight and durable, with a rich and clear depth of sound. The ebony fingerboard chin rests tailpiece and pegs means the wood will not deform from use. Thus offering further durability.
The price point for this instrument is reasonable for the quality you are receiving; however, the bridge does not come ready set up, so some work is needed before the violin can be played. This is a great option for violinists still fairly new to the instrument, looking for a reliable instrument that is going to perform and is going to last.
Best Budget Violin – Easter 4/4 Violin
Another reliable choice is the Eastar Pull size EVA-1 Student Violin. This instrument is handcrafted with quality materials utilizing the popular choice of spruce and maple to make up the body.
The violin plays well with a rich sound and sturdy build with four integrated fine tuners for precision providing control and allowing for easy ongoing maintenance.
Unlike other violins being sold at this price point, this instrument can be played straight out of the box, with the bridge already set up to play. This makes this instrument an excellent reliable all-around violin for first-time players and newbie musicians.
If you are struggling with your priorities and just want a violin that can do it all for a reasonable price, this is the instrument for you.
What is the best brand of violin?
Well, that depends on who you ask. Fiddlerman is a popular choice, producing some of the best violins on the market. The instruments are of incredible quality and are all tested and receive a stamp of approval from Pierre Holstein, owner and professional violinist.
But a beginner may not be able to appreciate the superior build quality and bespoke design of the Fiddlerman violins, and so a simpler violin may be better suited for their needs.
Stentor can offer just this, a Chinese brand that is very popular with beginners. The violins are of good quality and yet are easy and accessible to newbies wanting a reliable transition instrument. Stentor is likely to be your answer if you were to press a violin instructor for the best brand of violin.
In comparison, if you were to ask someone outside of the industry what they believe to be the best brand of violin, you would expect the name Yamaha to crop up.
The fame and the success of this brand are not unfounded as the instruments they produce are of top quality and perform well, certainly a brand you can trust.
Finally, the best brand of violin if you’re working with a tight budget could be Cecilio. A company that offers handcrafted violins for all levels of expertise at a low price point.
A violin purist would likely argue that the best violins of all time would be Stradivarius violins. Something of legend, only around 650 of these remain and are more of an artifact than a playable instrument. However, being one of the most famous names around in the classical world, they cannot go without being mentioned, and there are many authentic replicas available for purchase.
How much should you expect to spend?
It’s a personal choice how much a player chooses to spend on their instrument. The limit is almost endless, with some of the world’s finest instruments costing hundreds of thousands. For this reason, it is important to be educated on the price ranges you can expect to see and what you can expect to get for your budget.
As demonstrated by this article, you can find yourself an entirely respectable violin for between £50- £100. While the instrument may not be up to the standard of avid or professional violinists, students, newbies, or even amateurs can get playing for less than £100.
If you are a beginner willing to stretch your budget a little beyond this, then some higher quality student violins sit around the £150 mark, such as the Stentor 1500; however, this would be the top end of what you would be looking to spend on a beginner’s violin.
While £150 is ample for a beginner, you certainly would be looking to upgrade after a year or two, and surprisingly, the prices don’t hike too much when looking for what may be your second or third violin.
However the intermediate band is relatively wide, so whether you are looking at the top end or the low end of this band, it would be scaled based on your experience level and the value you attach to the quality of your instrument.
With that being said, at an intermediate experience level, you would be looking at spending approximately between £200- £400 on your violin.
Once you approach an advanced level, prices start increasing almost exponentially, and you can expect to pay anywhere from £500 to thousands of pounds for your personal violin.
However, there are some models that creep into the millions, such as an original Stradivarius for those more frivolous spenders. It should be noted that a higher price is not an indicator of the quality of the instrument.
Many enthusiasts hold a lot of sentimentality to certain brands and models; however, in terms of the payoff you get from the instrument, more expensive does not always need better; in fact, many violin makers argue that there is no need to spend more than £500. as there is little that can be done to improve an instrument beyond this price point
If you play on stage or otherwise, you might be looking to get an electric violin. This, of course, would come with the added cost of extra equipment, but players would be looking at paying a minimum of around £130 for the violin plus upwards of £100 for the amplifier.
Renting A Violin
Of course, buying your violin is not the only option available to you. Many beginners choose to rent their instrument when they’re first starting out, avoiding committing to a large payment while they’re still learning their way around a violin.
In fact, this might be a good option to consider even for those who have already chosen the violin they wish to purchase, as it allows players to ‘try before you buy. This is also a fantastic option for children violinists who quickly outgrow models and need to size up regularly. Players can expect to pay approximately £8- £20 a month depending on the violin size, make and model.
What makes a good violin?
At its core, a violin is an instrument, so it may be easy to think the only component that really matters is the sound quality a violin can produce. In fact, for a beginner, the sound quality would be fairly low on the list of factors to consider.
For student violinists, it is important to get a well-balanced instrument that is durable and lightweight. This way, they can learn the fundamentals of finger positioning and strokes and develop muscle memory before worrying about the tone quality.
For durability, it is important to consider the fingerboards and the chin rest as these are the areas that get the most contact and are most likely to show wear Ebony is less likely to deform than other woods; therefore, a violin with an ebony fingerboard is likely going to stay playable for longer an important factor for a beginner violinist.
When looking for an instrument with a good depth of sound, a lot of people look to the wood as an indicator of the quality. A spruce top will offer excellent sound and rich tones, as will rosewood and maple and many other common hardwoods used in violins.
Violin makers often put a lot of emphasis on the type of wood, the thickness, and the adherence of the wood to indicate the quality of a violin. Truthfully it is easy to get caught up worrying about the wood when in reality, the build and the care that has gone into a violin contribute far more to the sound quality you get from your instrument.
Caring for the strings and your bow and spending time fine-tuning your instrument can give excellent results in sound and acoustics, so there’s no need to splash out on a pricier model if the better sound is what you’re looking for.
In fact, a lot of people will notice a dull note in the sound of their playing and will take that as an indicator that it’s time to upgrade. Take the time to fine-tune your old instrument before upgrading often, the mechanisms simply need a bit of TLC, and they will be playing as well as new.
Origin Of Your Violin
Enthusiasts would argue that the geographical origin of a violin makes a difference to the quality. Many cheaper makes and models come from Asia, primarily China in recent years, supposedly of a lesser quality than the European classics.
Whether this is true or simply a placebo effect brought on by sentimentality, often the higher-priced, better-regarded models come from Europe.
There is a certain romance about the handcrafted nature of European violins, and perhaps that added passion adds to the quality of the violin produced. If you are somewhat of a romantic, perhaps this is something to bear in mind.
However, the Asian-produced instruments certainly hold their own and offer a more budget-friendly option for those who are just starting out or are less concerned about the background of an instrument. Asian makers often still handcraft the instruments using the same processes and materials, therefore, producing very similar results to their European counterparts.
Despite the hefty price tag, a Stradivarius violin will rarely produce better sound quality than a new model. In fact, the general rule is the younger the instrument, the better it plays While older violins will often have a certain old-timey charm to them, newly built models will produce a much fresher and cleaner sound with stronger acoustics, despite being far cheaper than the vintage classics.
The value attached to these classical violins is another example of the romantic sentimentality that is so widely present in classical music and is all part of the industry.
However, when shopping for function and quality, it helps to set the sentimentality aside and get value for money instead, so shop new when you can!
Finally, it is important to look at the assembly process that has gone into a violin. Handmade violins will have had the attention and care put into them to ensure that they have been optimally produced for the best sound quality. The key to the best violins is in the details a factor that contributes to the steep incline in price can be seen for better quality models.
As was mentioned previously, a higher price tag is not always an indication of quality; however, this is where you do see a payoff for spending a bit more. So when you can, look for a handcrafted violin from a well-regarded, highly esteemed brand, and you will see optimal performance from your instrument.
Best Beginner Violins
If you are looking for the best violins for beginners, or just good violin brands, we definitely recommend Forenza Violins.
So to wrap things up, picking an instrument is a very personal choice, and there truly is no such thing as the single best violin for everyone.
Hopefully, you are a step closer now to finding the best violin for you and your journey, there is certainly a lot to consider, and it’s no easy decision. Thank you for reading, and happy hunting!